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Latest Archaeological and Cultural News of Iran and the Iranian World


ICHTHO In Search of More Evidence for Case of Achaemenid Tablets in US


24 September 2008



LONDON, (CAIS) -- Iran’s Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) is searching for more documents to enable the country to win the court case against the United States on the matter of the Achaemenid tablets.


CHTHO’s Judicial Office has set up a team of experts to look for the documents at the archives of Iran’s Customs Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and former prime ministerial office -- present Presidential Office, the office director Omid Ghanami told the Persian service of CHN on Monday.


The project aims to provide Iran with more documents to prove its ownership of the tablets kept at the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute.


“So far, the documents found during the search show that the tablets have been loaned to the University of Chicago and the artefacts have not been given as compensation in exchange for services performed,” Ghanami noted.


However, he said that the documents refer to implications of the subject and the team should search for more reliable documents.


According to Ghanami, it’s not certain when the court session would be held.


In spring 2006, U.S. District Court Judge Blanche Manning ruled that a group of people injured by a 1997 terrorist bombing in Israel could seize the 300 clay tablets loaned to the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and the university cannot protect Iran’s ownership rights to the artefacts.


Following Iranian cultural heritage officials’ protests against the ruling, the court was slated to re-examine the case on December 21, 2006, but the court session was postponed to January 19, 2007, allegedly due to the fact that Iran had not provided all the documents necessary to the court.


The court session was held on the above-mentioned date, but no verdict was issued.


The Oriental Institute currently holds between 8000 to 10,000 intact and about 11,000 fragmented tablets, as estimated by Gil Stein, the director of the university’s Oriental Institute.


The tablets were discovered by the University of Chicago’s archaeologists in 1933 while they were excavating in Persepolis, the site of a major Oriental Institute excavation.


The artefacts bear cuneiform script explaining administrative details of the Achaemenid dynastic Empire from about 500 BCE. They are among a group of tens of thousands of tablets and tablet fragments that were loaned to the university’s Oriental Institute in 1937 for study. A group of 179 complete tablets was returned in 1948, and another group of more than 37,000 tablet fragments was returned in 1951.


Based on a bill approved by the Iranian Parliament in 1930, foreign research institutes were allowed to conduct excavations at Iranian ancient sites exclusively or during joint projects with the Iranian government. However, foreigners were also given permission to borrow the artefacts discovered during the excavation projects with Iranian team members and to transfer their share to their country for research purposes.


However, many of the loaned Iranian artefacts were never returned to and the bill was scraped after the 1979 revolution.


Many Iranians believe if the Islamic regime is proven to be involved in that bombing based on evidences acceptable to the United Nations rather than the creation of neo-conservative hawkish minds currently running the United States, it is not the nation of Iran who should pay, but the ruling clerics; -and instead of seizing Iranians’ cultural assets -- the Mullahs assets and their families in the US and Europe should be seized to compensate for the damages.


Since the rise of theoretic-totalitarian regime in Iran, the Islamic regime’s leaders and their families have illegitimately gathered wealth beyond imaginations. Billions of dollars of stolen assets of the Iranian nation now belonging to the mullah's are kept in Australia, Dubai and a number of European countries as well as the United States and Canada for the future and the fall of the Islamic regime.





Extracted From/Source: Mehr News [*]




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